All meeting minutes posted on the township website are unofficial minutes. Official copies of minutes may be obtained from the township clerk.

Minutes: January 13, 2014

The Regular Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was convened at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, January 13, 2014, in the Vernon Municipal Center, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey.

Statement of Compliance

Adequate notice of this meeting had been provided to the public and the press on January 8, 2014, and was posted on the bulletin board in the Municipal Building in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A. 10:4-7.

Roll Call of Members

Present were Council Members Daniel Kadish, Jean Murphy, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, and Council President Brian Lynch. Also present was Mayor Victor J. Marotta and Township Attorney Kevin Kelly.

Executive Session

Council President Lynch asked the Clerk to read the Resolution for Executive Session.

Resolution to Go into Executive Session

WHEREAS, the Open Public Meetings Act, N.J.S.A. 10:4-6 permits the exclusion of the public in certain circumstances; and

WHEREAS, this public body is of the opinion that such circumstances presently exist;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon as follows:

1. The public shall be excluded from discussion of and action upon the hereinafter specified subject matter.

2. The general nature of the subject matter to be discussed is:

A. Personnel—Municipal Clerk Position

3. This resolution shall take effect immediately.

The Council President asked for a motion to go into executive session:
Moved: Dan Kadish
Second: Dick Wetzel
All were in favor.
Time: 6:31 p.m.

Return to Open Session

Council President Lynch asked for a motion to return to open session:
Motion: Daniel Kadish
Second: Patrick Rizzuto

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Daniel Kadish, Jean Murphy, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: None
Time: 7:30 p.m.

Salute to the Flag

Council President Lynch led the assemblage in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Moment of Silence

The Council President asked for a moment of silence to honor the long years of service to the community by Warren Burgess who recently passed away.

Public Comments

Council President Lynch asked for a motion to open the meeting for public comments:
Motion: Daniel Kadish
Second: Dick Wetzel
All members present were in favor.

Phyllis Pfeiffer—spoke in support of the Mayor’s salary increase.

Emil Litwin—spoke on the Mayor’s salary and the need for appropriate compensation for the job he does.

Bonnie Rubin—spoke against the Mayor’s salary increase.

Mr. Kelly advised that Ms. Rubin’s statements were partially incorrect, and noted that the statute for the salary ordinance/referendum is N.J.S.A. 40A:9-165.

Roy Tanfield—spoke in support of the Mayor’s salary increase, noting that he had surveyed other towns in New Jersey of similar size for full-time mayors.

Len Coloccia—spoke against the Mayor’s increase, though he noted that he has no problem raising the salary for the next mayor.

Beverly Budz—thanked the Mayor for his hard work, noting his assistance with the grant for reforestation and that the trees have all been planted. She also thanked him for his assistance with other issues that have come up, as well as the second grant for additional trees.

Jamie Rickey—spoke about the Mayor’s salary as well, expressing his view that the Administrator’s salary should be included with the Mayor as the executive branch as a whole. He supports the Mayor and his salary increase. He had some concern that a lower salary might attract a candidate who may not be as competent and they would have to rely more on the Business Administrator to handle things.

Mary Ellen Vichiconti—spoke out against the salary increase.

Krista Gerry—congratulated Jean Murphy on taking office. She spoke out against the salary increase for the Mayor.

Gary Martinsen—had concerns with the use of the website to support Mr. Rizzuto and Mr. Wetzel on Vernon Vibes episodes.

Sally Rinker—spoke about the lack of filming of the budget work session, and her position against various members of the governing body, the Business Administrator, and the Mayor’s salary increase.

Howard Widden—spoke on behalf of the Mayor and the job he has been doing, but was concerned with the perception of the voters after turning down the last salary increase. He suggested doing a referendum on the increase instead of an ordinance.

Barbara Chorzepa—spoke on behalf of the salary increase. She also noted, as did others, that you must compensate for the job. She was concerned that the salary must be enough to attract quality people for the next mayoral election.

Jessi Paladini—spoke about the position of Mayor in Vernon, and what salary is warranted for the responsibilities of the job.

Marika Bezzone—noted his view that this is not a career, but a service.

Barbara Seletti—felt that an increase would be a slap in the face of the voters. She asked if the Mayor receives a pension.

Mayor Marotta advised that he does pay into it, but that he would have to be in the system for 10 years to receive a pension, which he will not.

Ms. Seletti asked for the criteria on the performance awards.

Council President Lynch advised Ms. Seletti to contact the Mayor’s office, and the Mayor advised that he would get her that information. (Note: the information is available at this time in the Clerk’s office, but there was no contact information to reach Ms. Seletti.)

Closed to Public Comments

Seeing no one else from the public wishing to speak, Council President Lynch asked for a motion to close the public comment portion of the meeting.

Motion: Patrick Rizzuto
Second: Dick Wetzel
All members present were in favor.

Mayor’s Report

Mayor Marotta spoke about the following items:

  • He presented Mr. Rizzuto with a plaque thanking him for his service as Council President in 2013. Mr. Lynch offered his thanks as well.
  • He addressed the road conditions during the recent storms, noting that International Salt had been unable to supply enough salt to towns and counties due to the State storing it in anticipation of the Super Bowl. He advised that our supplies were now full. The Mayor also noted that there had been some mechanical problems with 5 of our trucks.
  • The Newark Watershed Coalition—there is a proposed bill in the Assembly to amend how municipalities can assess watershed properties.
  • FEMA grant for radio frequency upgrades—the upgrades are 75% complete, and it is anticipated that they will be 90% complete by week’s end. Once done, we will be 5 years ahead of federal requirements. He noted that the grant work had been processed by our Fire Marshal Dave Tynan.
  • Digital Tax Maps—the first flyover has been completed with more to be scheduled. We anticipate the entire job completed within 2 years.
  • Animal Control Generator—the generator is now a reality after much effort, which will allow for heat and power to our animal friends during power outages.
  • The State of the Township message will be given at the next meeting.

Consent Agenda

The Council President explained Resolutions #14-26 through #14-29 and #14-31, advising that Resolution #14-30 had been removed from the agenda at this time.

Council President Lynch asked for a motion to approve Resolutions #14-26 through #14-29 and #14-31.

Council Member Kadish asked to separate out #14-28 and #14-29.

Council President Lynch asked for a motion to approve Resolutions #14-26, #14-27 and #14-31:
Motion: Daniel Kadish
Second: Jean Murphy

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Daniel Kadish, Jean Murphy, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: None
Resolutions #14-26, #14-27, and #14-31 were adopted.
*Note: The block and lot information for #14-31 was incorrect. The typographical error was corrected and is accurately shown below

Resolution #14-26: Authorizing a Contract with Automatic Temperature Control Services, Inc. to Maintain and Service the Township’s Automatic Temperature Control System at the Municipal Building for 2014

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon has a need to maintain the Automatic Temperature Control System at the Municipal Building for the year 2014; and

WHEREAS, Automatic Temperature Control Services, Inc. had serviced the Township system and has the expertise to maintain said system; and

WHEREAS, the Dept of Public Works Director recommends that the Township Council award a contract for the maintenance agreement to Automatic Temperature Control Services, Inc, 207 Blackford Avenue, P.O. Box 310, Middlesex, NJ 08846; and

WHEREAS, the total cost for this annual maintenance contract in $3,360.00, and the Chief Financial Officer of the Township of Vernon, has certified these funds are available in Account#10577237.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, that the vendor, Automatic Temperature Control Services, Inc. be awarded a contract to maintain the Township’s Automatic Temperature Control System for 2014 in an amount not to exceed $3,360.00; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this resolution shall take effect immediately upon adoption according to law.

Resolution #14-27: Resolution Authorizing Fireworks to Be Displayed on Janaury 27, 2014, within the Township of Vernon

WHEREAS, N.J.S.A.21:3-1et seq. Explosive and Fireworks, provides that a Municipal Governing Body must authorize the display of fireworks within its boundaries as a pre-condition to such display in accordance with the New Jersey Fire Prevention Code; and

WHEREAS, Mountain Creek Resorts wishes to conduct a fireworks display on January 27, 2014, in celebration of the 2014 Special Olympics Winter Games; and

WHEREAS, the proposed fireworks display will take place on Mountain Creek Resorts property; and

WHEREAS, Garden State Fireworks, Inc., will be contracted to perform the public fireworks display and has provided the required certificate of liability insurance.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Council of the Township of Vernon, in the County of Sussex, hereby authorizes the fireworks display to be performed by Garden State Fireworks, Inc. and sponsored by Mountain Creek Resorts on January 27, 2014, upon satisfaction of all statutory and departmental requirements.

Resolution #14-31: Acceptance of Deed to Township Block 200.10, Lot 26 in Highland Lakes

WHEREAS, the owner of the above property has offered to donate this lot to the Township; and

WHEREAS, it is in the best interests of the Township to accept a Deed for the ownership of this property;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, that the Deed for the above property is hereby accepted.

Council Member Kadish asked about the vessel in #14-29, specifically if it was inflatable (yes) and how long it took to inflate (about a minute).

Mr. Kadish inquired about the thermal imaging cameras in #14-28, specifically why we are purchasing 6 and not just one. Fire Marshal Tynan explained that by purchasing six of the same cameras which would be interchangeable, all departments would have the same equipment and training, thereby increasing efficiency at fire scenes especially during mutual aid calls with multiple departments responding to the same scene.

Council President Lynch asked for a motion to approve Resolutions #14-28 and #14-29:
Motion: Daniel Kadish
Second: Patrick Rizzuto

A roll call vote was taken:
Ayes: Daniel Kadish, Jean Murphy, Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel
Nays: None
ABSTAIN: Brian Lynch

Resolution #14-28: Authorizing the Use of State Contract #A81357 to Purchase Thermal Imagining Cameras for the Vernon Township Fire Service

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon has a need to replace some of its Thermal Imagining Cameras used by its volunteer fire departments; and

WHEREAS, the Township desires to use the State Cooperative which received bids for said equipment through Contract #A81357; and

WHEREAS, the Business Administrator and Fire Marshal recommend the Township Council award a contract for the cameras to FF1 Professional Safety Services, 26 Gail Court, Suite #1, Sparta, NJ 07871 per the attached price quote; and

WHEREAS, the total cost to purchase this equipment shall not exceed $51,078.96 and the Chief Financial Officer of the Township of Vernon has certified these funds are available in account #115475131 and #115475132, this is an approved use of monies, in accordance with our Grant Amendment from the 2012 Assistance to Fire Fighter Grant awarded to Vernon Township in 2013.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, that the vendor, FF1 Professional Safety Services, be utilized to purchase said Thermal Imaging Cameras for interior firefighting and rescue efforts; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this resolution shall take effect immediately upon adoption according to law.

Resolution #14-29: Authorizing the Use of the State Contracts #A81374 and #A81363 to Purchase a Search and Rescue Vessel for Vernon Township Fire Service

WHEREAS, the Township of Vernon has a need to replace its current Search and Rescue Vessel used by its volunteer fire departments; and

WHEREAS, the Township desires to use the State Cooperative which received bids for said equipment through Contract #A81374 and #A81363; and

WHEREAS, the Mayor and Fire Marshal recommend the Township Council award a contract for the vessel to FF1 Professional Safety Services, 26 Gail Court, Suite #1, Sparta, NJ 07871 per the attached price quote; and

WHEREAS, the total cost to purchase this equipment shall not exceed $16,646.68 and the Chief Financial Officer of the Township of Vernon has certified these funds are available in account #115475131 and #115475132, and this is an approved use of monies in accordance to our Grant Amendment from the 2012 Assistance to Fire Fighter Grant awarded to Vernon Township in 2013.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by the Township Council of the Township of Vernon, that the vendor, FF1 Professional Safety Services, be utilized to purchase said search and rescue equipment; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this resolution shall take effect immediately upon adoption according to law.

Ordinance Introduction

First Reading of Ordinance #14-01

Council President Lynch asked Mr. Kelly to read the ordinance in its entirety:

Ordinance #14-01: Ordinance to Provide and Determine the Salary for the Mayor of the Township of Vernon


Motion: Patrick Rizzuto
Second: Dick Wetzel

Council Member Kadish spoke about his prior governing body experience in Vernon Township in comparison to the current form of government, and his view against the salary increase for the Mayor.

Council Member Wetzel supported the ordinance and gave examples of similar salaries in area towns for similar responsibilities.

Council Member Murphy spoke against the ordinance, noting that she had done her own research.

Council Member Rizzuto recalled the salary for the Mayor as discussed by Council when the new government took office. He reviewed many of the actions taken by the Council in developing the new, current Administrative Code.

Council President Lynch spoke on this issue, noting the responsibilities that this new form of government has created in the position of Mayor, regardless of what other towns and forms of government do.

Ms. Murphy asked the Township Attorney if the Mayor was considered an employee or an elected official. Mr. Kelly advised that he would like to think about that and review the issue.

Mr. Kadish clarified a point on why he opposes the increase.

Mr. Lynch clarified the point that this is a new form of government.

Mr. Rizzuto noted that Council does not evaluate the Mayor’s performance because he does not report to the Council but only to the residents.

The Council President asked for a roll call vote:
Ayes: Patrick Rizzuto, Dick Wetzel, Brian Lynch
Nays: Daniel Kadish, Jean Murphy
Ordinance #14-01 was approved on first reading.

Council Comments

Council Member Murphy spoke about an OPRA issue on attachments for agendas.

Council Member Kadish had nothing to add at this time.

Council Member Rizzuto thanked the Mayor and Council for his plaque.

Council Member Wetzel had nothing to add at this time.

Council President

Council President Lynch advised that the McAfee, Pochuck Valley, and Highland Lakes Fire Departments had been very busy lately with fire calls.

Council Member Rizzuto noted that he had heard fire trucks up the street due to a carbon monoxide detector going off at a neighbor’s house.

Adjournment

There being no further items of business to be conducted on the Regular Meeting agenda, a motion for adjournment was made by Council Member Patrick Rizzuto. Motion seconded by Council Member Dick Wetzel, with all members voting in favor.

The Regular Meeting of the Township Council of the Township of Vernon was adjourned at 9:16 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Andrea Bates, Deputy Municipal Clerk
for Susan S. Nelson, Municipal Clerk

Minutes approved: March 24, 2014